By Kit Sandeman, Local Democracy Reporter
One in two children in an area of Nottingham are living below the poverty line, according to the latest council figures.
Thousands of children are living in poverty in the city, which is the fourth-worst area in the country in terms of child poverty according to one measure, while one in five households do not have a single person working.
In the Arboretum ward, which includes much of Hyson Green, 52 percent of children are in poverty – well above the citywide average.
However in the Wollaton West ward, which has the lowest levels, 17 percent are in poverty.
The figures from Nottingham City Council show 25,148 children (38 per cent) in the city are considered to be living in poverty, once housing costs are taken into account.
The poverty line is defined as being those below 60 per cent of median income, which means that a lone parent with two children, earning below £15,444, are considered to be living in poverty.
The city council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee today (March 20) heard 22 per cent of the city’s children live in workless households – double the national average of 11 per cent.
The city council said several measures were in place to improve poverty levels in the city.
These include improving the amount of two year olds who take up the offer of free childcare (currently 61 percent).
Councillor David Mellen represents the Dales ward, and is the portfolio holder for early intervention and early years at the council.
He said: “As adults, some of us will know a little bit about poverty, but as a child it can be different.
“From a child’s perspective there’s a sense of helplessness.
“You can be extremely worried about your parents. We get children who are anxious and frustrated, even though they see their parents trying their best to make ends meet there can be a feeling that they can’t do anything about the situation they’re in.
“If you can see some class mates who can afford different clothes and opportunities, it can make you feel inadequate, worthless and with a sense of hopelessness.
“Your aspirations and dreams for the future those are affected and coloured by the situation you’re in.”
While Nottingham is the eighth most-deprived area according to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), it is ranked fourth most-deprived according to a sub-set of this data, the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI).
According to IDACI, Nottingham is the most deprived “core city”. The only local authorities who have a higher rank are Tower Hamlets, Islington and Middlesbrough.
The figures presented at the city council show 23 per cent of households are workless in Nottingham, compared to 15 per cent in the East Midlands and 15 per cent in the UK. This only includes those households that have at least one person aged between 16 and 64.
Councillor Mellen said: “Poverty damages childhoods, life chances, health and the economic prosperity of our country and the Government needs to do much more to address it.
“A range of Government policies and welfare reforms have placed more households into hardship. We are seeing families move here from London and the South East where they can no longer afford to live, but are still reliant on benefits and food banks to make ends meet.
“Many of these children have at least one parent working, but low pay and erratic working patterns mean that families are struggling to cope financially, often unable to provide the basics of food and warmth.
“We are working hard to support our families, such as maintaining welfare rights services, providing school clothing allowance and breakfast clubs and taking action to improve literacy – but the impact of seven years of Government cuts to our budgets is making this increasingly hard.”